Switching Practice within Current Firm

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Switching Practice within Current Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:39 pm

Hi. I'm a 2nd year corporate associate at a top 10 NY firm. I've declared my specialty early on (for a combination of reasons) and I'm satisfied with my work so far, but realized that other specialty within transactional practice likely offer better exit-ops down the road personally (and beginning realize that more likely than not I would have to leave at some point). Would it be possible for me to ask the management for a transfer (or at least some exposure to other practice groups as a starting point)? If so, what would be the best way of approaching this? Some options that came to my mind were:

1) talk to my practice group partner and tell him/her about my concern and ask for a transfer;
2) directly approach the management and ask for a transfer;
3) informally ask a buddy at another group to loop me into his deals to get my feet wet first (for a few months), and then later ask for a formal transfer (possibly after building some relationship with the other group's partner); or
4) Lateral to another firm (assuming that as a 2nd year other firms would simply consider me as a generalist at this point).

I understand it would be difficult to answer this without disclosing which firm/management and culture I'm coming from, but I'm just curious as to whether this would generally be allowed in NY biglaw firms. Anecdotes appreciated. Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:22 pm

Do you mean change your corporate specialty from, e.g. securities to M&A, or do you mean change your practice from corporate to, e.g. investment management? If the former, I did that just by asking around for different deals. If the latter, that's a bit more difficult.

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you mean change your corporate specialty from, e.g. securities to M&A, or do you mean change your practice from corporate to, e.g. investment management? If the former, I did that just by asking around for different deals. If the latter, that's a bit more difficult.


I meant the former, changing within corporate practice (e.g., among securities, M&A, and banking & finance). So were you able to change your specialty after you have committed/declared for another? How long did it take for you from starting to ask around for different deals to formally moving over? thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you mean change your corporate specialty from, e.g. securities to M&A, or do you mean change your practice from corporate to, e.g. investment management? If the former, I did that just by asking around for different deals. If the latter, that's a bit more difficult.


I meant the former, changing within corporate practice (e.g., among securities, M&A, and banking & finance). So were you able to change your specialty after you have committed/declared for another? How long did it take for you from starting to ask around for different deals to formally moving over? thanks!


I think after your first year, you don't really know a ton that can't be re-tooled into another practice area. After my first year ended, I just started asking for more and broader experience, because it would be generally useful as a corporate lawyer to be familiar with different types of agreements to understand how each new deal would fit together. Eventually this led to opportunities in a different practice area, and I built relationships there that led to more work. I didn't formally make the switch from one group to the other, but now straddle both groups. It took me maybe 6 months to get there.

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you mean change your corporate specialty from, e.g. securities to M&A, or do you mean change your practice from corporate to, e.g. investment management? If the former, I did that just by asking around for different deals. If the latter, that's a bit more difficult.


I meant the former, changing within corporate practice (e.g., among securities, M&A, and banking & finance). So were you able to change your specialty after you have committed/declared for another? How long did it take for you from starting to ask around for different deals to formally moving over? thanks!


I think after your first year, you don't really know a ton that can't be re-tooled into another practice area. After my first year ended, I just started asking for more and broader experience, because it would be generally useful as a corporate lawyer to be familiar with different types of agreements to understand how each new deal would fit together. Eventually this led to opportunities in a different practice area, and I built relationships there that led to more work. I didn't formally make the switch from one group to the other, but now straddle both groups. It took me maybe 6 months to get there.


I agree that I don't have any cemented skills after a year of drafting signature pages and ancillary documents. My only concern is that there might be a push back from partners at my current practice group (especially when our group is extremely busy), even at the idea of my taking work from other practice groups. I was just curious how generous firms generally are in accommodating such requests.

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I agree that I don't have any cemented skills after a year of drafting signature pages and ancillary documents. My only concern is that there might be a push back from partners at my current practice group (especially when our group is extremely busy), even at the idea of my taking work from other practice groups. I was just curious how generous firms generally are in accommodating such requests.


Ah. My firm was pretty accommodating, but it was more due to the circumstances (my primary practice group became a little slow, and the group I picked work up from was extremely busy). I don't know how they would have reacted if I had been trying to explore other options while my primary group was busy. Probably not thrilled, but I think it's still a fair request from a young attorney.

Anonymous User
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Re: switching practice within the firm

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:31 pm

bump



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